Cruzio and the Loma Fire: Night One
Cruzio staff were glued to our video, watching the Loma Fire burn close to our hilltop equipment for hours. By early evening, the tall flames were very near our buildings, but luckily never crossed the paved perimeter.
They came awfully close, though. As we swiveled and zoomed our camera remotely, this is what we saw:
At about 6 pm, PG&E had cut power for safety reasons. You don’t want live electrical wires on burning poles.
How We Prepare for Emergencies Like the Loma Fire
Now back a step, to Cruzio’s long years of planning. In 2009, when we started using mountaintop facilities, we had limited power backup at those sites. When there was a problem with power — which happens more often than you’d like, — we’d have to rush up to fix the situation.
One of Cruzio’s principles of operation is that we must do absolutely all we can to provide 24/7 service without fail. Plus, we hate going up to mountains in bad weather, in the middle of a freezing night.
So Cruzio has invested heavily in long-lasting power backups for mountaintops.
Now, we have backup batteries rated to last 24 hours. We refresh our batteries on a regular schedule every year so they are always in good shape. We regularly test our generators and monitor our power equipment. Our teams drill for emergencies and every member of our staff is ready to help. It all comes in handy at a time like this.
Those powerful batteries meant we maintained service all night while the fire blazed around the hilltop. The batteries also kept the cameras going so we continued to watch, transfixed, throughout the evening.
But after a day, we knew our batteries would run down. We needed to get up the mountain with a generator to recharge them — PG&E was estimating a whole week before power was restored.
We kept watching until late at night. Even though the fire had passed us, Cal Fire said there was no way we could get to our site until late morning. So our Field Operations staff prepared to go up first thing the next day.
Continue Reading: Day Two